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Open AccessArticle

Quantitative Prediction of Power Loss for Damaged Photovoltaic Modules Using Electroluminescence

Institute for Photovoltaics and Research Center SCoPE, University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2018, 11(5), 1172;
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PV System Design and Performance)
Electroluminescence (EL) is a powerful tool for the qualitative mapping of the electronic properties of solar modules, where electronic and electrical defects are easily detected. However, a direct quantitative prediction of electrical module performance purely based on electroluminescence images has yet to be accomplished. Our novel approach, called “EL power prediction of modules” (ELMO) as presented here, used just two electroluminescence images to predict the electrical loss of mechanically damaged modules when compared to their original (data sheet) power. First, using this method, two EL images taken at different excitation currents were converted into locally resolved (relative) series resistance images. From the known, total applied voltage to the module, we were then able to calculate absolute series resistance values and the real distribution of voltages and currents. Then, we reconstructed the complete current/voltage curve of the damaged module. We experimentally validated and confirmed the simulation model via the characterization of a commercially available photovoltaic module containing 60 multicrystalline silicon cells, which were mechanically damaged by hail. Deviation between the directly measured and predicted current/voltage curve was less than 4.3% at the maximum power point. For multiple modules of the same type, the level of error dropped below 1% by calibrating the simulation. We approximated the ideality factor from a module with a known current/voltage curve and then expand the application to modules of the same type. In addition to yielding series resistance mapping, our new ELMO method was also capable of yielding parallel resistance mapping. We analyzed the electrical properties of a commercially available module, containing 72 monocrystalline high-efficiency back contact solar cells, which suffered from potential induced degradation. For this module, we predicted electrical performance with an accuracy of better than 1% at the maximum power point. View Full-Text
Keywords: silicon; photovoltaics; modules; electroluminescence; defects; cracks silicon; photovoltaics; modules; electroluminescence; defects; cracks
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kropp, T.; Schubert, M.; Werner, J.H. Quantitative Prediction of Power Loss for Damaged Photovoltaic Modules Using Electroluminescence. Energies 2018, 11, 1172.

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